The pub entrepreneur putting Boroughbridge on the map
Last updated Feb 16, 2024
Boroughbridge pub entrepreneur Simon Wade
The Fox & Hounds in Langthorpe is one of three pubs owned by Simon Wade.

Standing in one of his Boroughbridge pubs after the first covid lockdown had been announced, Simon Wade had a fleeting moment of negativity. 

He recalls thinking, ‘What’s going to happen now?’, before he rallied and told himself to change his mindset.

“I thought, let’s face the challenge and make the most of it, things will return to normal so let’s get future-proofing. Since then, we’ve taken calculated risks and made the opportunity happen. We’ve put some good investment in to make the pubs the best they can be.” 

It wasn’t easy but he managed to retain the courage of his convictions. With three decades of experience in North Yorkshire restaurants, pubs and hotels, Simon had spotted Boroughbridge’s potential when he moved to Langthorpe with his family nine years ago. He said: 

“One hundred per cent I had one eye on what was going on in the area when we moved here, and I took the decision to be ready for it.

“The town has got a strong community feel, a lovely atmosphere when you walk around, and an independent high street which is well supported. Any houses that are built are occupied straight away. People who have lived in the town all their lives can now stay here, while others are moving in from the larger towns and cities for a more rural feeling while still being really well connected.” 

The interior of The Fox and Hounds in Boroughbridge

The interior of The Fox and Hounds in Boroughbridge.

He has been focused on breathing new life into the town’s pub scene since 2018. At that time he was running The Grantham Arms, a 13-bedroom hotel with dining room, bar and outdoor heated terraces, which he bought in 2022. He put substantial investment into refurbishing the pub and two further venues, The Fox & Hounds in Langthorpe, a quintessential village pub purchased in 2020, and the Tap on the Tutt in Boroughbridge, formerly the Three Horse Shoes, which he bought it in July last year. 

The latter, a grade two listed building which Simon describes as a ‘sleeping giant’, has been given an extensive refurbishment. The interior has been completely overhauled to enhance the original ornate features, stained glass and wood panelling.  

Name change

Although the name change provoked ‘quite a lot of public opinion’, Simon said the renovations had been well received, with the combination of traditional pub food, hand-pulled beers, TV screens showing sport, pool table, darts board and a separate quiet area proving popular. He said: 

“It’s now standing room only on a weekend. The pub is an integral part of Boroughbridge’s history and it’s risen from the ashes. The original features give a real sense of its history and, with the colour scheme and lighting, it looks wonderful. We’ve got a great team of people and give a good, friendly Yorkshire welcome.” 

Simon hopes that between the three pubs, there is variety and something for everyone. He has a fantastic, close-knit team of around 60 full and part-time staff who all, except one, live in the town. Simon’s partner, Susie Winder, who grew up in Boroughbridge, is behind the style, design and refurbishment of the pubs. Simon credits her vision and natural talent for creating venues that appeal to customers.

The traditional interior design of the Tapp on the Tutt in Boroughbridge, formerly the Three Horse Shoes

The traditional interior design of the Tap on the Tutt.

While the pubs were shut during covid, Simon and Susie developed the outdoor areas to create beer gardens and more space. They also made sure they stayed visible to customers, holding online pub quizzes and offering a food delivery service. The approach paid off and Simon said the pubs came out of the pandemic stronger than before. They now hold regular events such as a recent Burns Night and Valentine’s to keep customers excited and interested. He said: 

“It feels like Boroughbridge is often overlooked while things are happening around it and I want to help put it on the map. Boroughbridge has grown dramatically over the past four years and we are at the heart of the community. We reinvest heavily in our pubs for the benefit of our customers.” 

He now has plans for another substantial investment — a microbrewery. The Tap on the Tutt has a large selection of drafts ales and world beers and is Simon’s attempt to get Boroughbridge noticed for having a real ale house. He’s aiming for the Cask Marque accreditation and wants to produce beer in-house.  

With other investments taking place in the town, most notably at The Crown Hotel, which was bought two years ago by the Coaching Inn Group, Simon said Boroughbridge offers so much for residents to enjoy – and for businesses looking for a new opportunity. He said: 

“More and more people are moving to Boroughbridge and it’s got such an up-and-coming feel about it. For anybody interested in starting or bringing a business here, the time to do it is now – so come and find your own little niche.”


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